How I Got Scammed at My Local Gas Station

People who believe in personal responsibility are often unfairly accused of being heartless and uncaring.

For proof, all one has to do is look at my inbox. I usually get at least one scathing letter every week from a reader who mistakes my philosophy regarding the importance of self-reliance and living within one’s means as a paean to the “virtues” of selfishness and greed.

Of course, nothing could be farther from the

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The Best Household CEOs Understand the Power of Saying 'No'

By most accounts, there are more than 250,000 words in the English language.

Of course, I have my favorites.

For example, I’ve always been quite fond of platypus; I smile every time I hear myself say it.

For some reason, there happens to be a soft spot in my heart for the word kerfuffle too.

And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I also find myself occasionally thinking of ways to insert words like

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100 Words On: Why You Should Never Ever Be Afraid of Failure

Most of us learn to fear failure and avoid it at all costs. During our quest for financial freedom, however, we’ll encounter plenty of failures. Usually, we learn from them and move on. Sadly, the fear of failure is also used as a convenient excuse for some folks who dig themselves into a deep financial hole and are looking for any reason to avoid the hard work of overcoming their oppressive debt.

The

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10 Money Saving Tips to Get the Most From Coupons

Coupons can save you hundreds of dollars each year, if not more. So why is it that so many people choose not to use them? Maybe it’s that they don’t consider them worth the trouble, or have had bad experiences with using coupons in the past. It could be that people just don’t know where to look to find good coupons, or they don’t understand how to get the most

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The Pros & Cons of Freezing Your Credit Report: Is It Worth It?

If I had a nickel for every person who has ever questioned my decision to openly share multiple details of my personal finances on this blog — especially considering its eponymous title — I’d be about $3.65 richer right now.

Usually, most people warn me that my openness makes me vulnerable to identity theft. They’re right to express concern. After all, once an identity thief gets hold of your name, social

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100 Words On: The One-Armed Bandit's Armless Cousin

Who hasn’t been fleeced by a casino slot machine? Although only Keno offers worse odds of winning, slots are by far the most popular casino game, responsible for 70 percent of gambling industry winnings — so it’s really no surprise they’re derisively called one-armed bandits. Like casinos, banks have their own army of two-faced dollar desperadoes: automated teller machines. ATMs have no qualms heisting 15 percent per $20 withdrawal. For

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How Fees Quickly Erode Your Savings Account Returns

Remember when this was considered a paltry return?

Your savings are a long-term investment, and whether you have accounts for short term purchases to furnish your home or fill your wardrobe, or whether you have your emergency fund and bill payment funds saved in the same place, you have worked hard to earn your money.

You have also worked hard to be disciplined enough to save it in the first place — so

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7 Questions That Businesses Rarely Ask Their Customers Anymore

Self-serve wasn't around when this picture was taken in 1939.

It’s hard for me to believe, but today is my 50th birthday.

I know, I don’t look a day over 65.

When I was a young boy, I thought 50 was ancient. Perhaps it is; but I don’t feel ancient. In fact, with only a few minor exceptions, I feel pretty much the same way today as I did when I was

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Black Coffee: Out of Cash, Out of Touch, and Out of Time

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.

I hope everyone had a memorable Valentine’s Day on Friday!

Let’s get right to it …

Credits and Debits

Debit: In case you haven’t noticed, Argentina defaulted on its debt in 1982, 1989, and 2001. Today, the nation’s collapsing

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100 Words On: Why Extended Warranties Sometimes Do Make Sense

The conventional wisdom out there is that it’s rarely advantageous to consider an extended warranty unless it’s for an automobile.

Don’t believe it.  The truth is, when it comes to extended warranties, things aren’t always quite so black and white.  For example, it often makes sense to buy extended warranties for irreplaceable or low-reliability products.  Likewise, they’re often a good idea for items that you know may be mishandled by kids

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